December 24, 2012 12:54
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday called on scientists in the militarist state to develop more powerful rockets, the North's KCNA news agency reported.
"You should develop and launch a variety of working satellites... and carrier rockets of bigger capacity," Kim was quoted as saying at a banquet in Pyongyang honoring the scientists who built the rocket launched on Dec. 12.
Kim added that the successful launch of the rocket "was the biggest present we dedicated to our great leader Kim Jong-il and a product of painstaking efforts and heroic struggle of our people and Workers Party."
The rocket launch, which fell on the first anniversary of Kim senior's death, is widely seen as a cover to test intercontinental ballistic missile technology.
But the new leader admitted failing to achieve his goal of turning North Korea into a "powerful and prosperous nation" this year, which marks the centenary of nation founder Kim Il-sung's birth. "We will work even harder to fly the red flag of a powerful and prosperous nation atop the mountain of victory as soon as possible," he said.
He urged the scientists to do their best to bring that day closer, evidently trying to associate progress in missile development with the "prosperity and happiness" of the people.
The banquet was enlivened by a new performing troupe who earlier this year surprised the world with revealing outfits and donning Disney character costumes.
Afterwards Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju personally saw off the scientists, technicians and workers of the missile development program as they returned to their quarters, KCNA reported.
On Saturday, the Workers Party awarded medals and the title of hero to 101 scientists and technicians who took part in the launch, including Choe Chun-sik, the head of the Second Academy of Natural Science.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com